Finding Meaning at Work
July 30th, 2010
Finding the time to blog this week has been challenging. My little man Nicholas seems to go non-stop. He reminds me of the energizer bunny, last night he went to sleep at 10pm and woke up at 6:30am? It would seem to me that at 1 year old you should be sleeping longer than that! I guess he doesn’t want to miss anything.
I spent some of my limited time this week thinking about how fortunate I am to have such amazing people to work with. The team I have in my office is awesome. In the fall, I always do a performance review with everyone and typically offer a pay increase at that time. Although I realize that everyone would love to make more money. I find it interesting that money is not the strongest motivator you can offer an employee. The more important motivator is giving people the chance to do work that they think is important. When you feel that what you do on a day to day basis is making a difference in the lives of others it engages your passion and makes your beliefs and values come alive.
Your Personal Purpose Statement
I think everyone could benefit by taking the time to define what they really do and contribute at their work. Taking the time to do this can give your professional life more direction and meaning.
Find a quiet place and sit down with a paper and pen…and ask yourself the following questions
1) What is the ultimate result of the work I do?
2) Why does my job even exist?
3) What difference do I intend to make?
4) What is important to ME about my job?
5) Which of my strong points are engaged when I do my work?
Answering these questions and letting yourself just take in the answers will help guide you to the purpose of your work. It will help lead you to your personal purpose for doing what you do. It will lead you to your personal mission statement about your professional life.
So many organizations spend time on developing a mission statement. Doing this is a great idea in theory. The problem is that so many of these mission statements drone on and on about customer service and impacting others and generating returns for stock holders and blah, blah, blah. You can see everyone’s eyes glaze over as these statements are read. Nobody remembers or really knows them and therefore nobody lives by them and they do not impact the organization. Establishing a short, impactful and meaningful statement that really captures what the organization does and what you do for the organization you work for or your own statement will be more meaningful.
On my Anderson eye surgery website the mission statement is nice but really too long to resonate with the incredible people that work for me. Something like “Our mission is to help people see better and make them feel important” probably hits it closer to the mark. When you develop a simple mission statement for your organization or for yourself you should be able to ask yourself at any point during the day or week “Am I doing this right now?” If not, this question should help get you back on track and back appreciating the impact that you can have.
Once you are really clear on what you do and why, you can easily tell someone else in 10 seconds what you do and leave them wanting to know more. In some networking circles this is called the 10 second commercial and it should immediately communicate what you do and the value it has to others. To develop your 10 second commercial, ask yourself the following questions…
1) What you do
2) Who you do it for
3) How it makes their lives better
My 10 second commercial goes something like this, “Hi, I’m Carolyn. I’m an eye surgeon and I work with older patients to prevent and restore their vision loss.”
Make sure you formulate your personal purpose statement in a way that makes sense to you. This is your benefit. It will also help to give your work life more direction and meaning. And if we work with more direction, meaning and passion chances are more money will follow.
Do you have a personal purpose statement? What’s your 10 second commercial?
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